Stammering

Dr. Ramesh Bhardwaj D.H.M.S  •  Dr. Puja Bhadel Bhardwaj  M.D.

  

Stammering medically means disorder of speech, where fluency of speech is affected with hesitations, involuntary pause(s) and repetition of words or prolongation of sounds.

It is otherwise called as stuttering. Stammerers face difficulty while attending interviews, addressing the public, etc. 


Incidences
 Stammering seems to affect 2-5 per cent of children around the age of 5. It commonly affects boys more than girls. Also, its incidence is more common in the first born male child. The exact reason is unknown. 


Causes
 Generally, stammering as a disorder will not arise from physical problems or problems in understanding or intelligence. It seems to occur due to instability of the brain in correlating all the signals to trigger the vocal apparatus to produce effective speech. Since the exact point of origin cannot be located, causes are often supposed and not definite. Anxiety, nervousness, tension, fear, low-confidence, situations, knowledge of language, etc., are often blamed. 


Symptoms Symptoms of stammering vary from person to person. Stammerers may have a few or most of the following symptoms:
- Hesitation to speak 
- Difficulty in finding a proper word – feels brain had been wired 
- May stop in the middle of a speech to come to a standstill with fear, anxiety and tension 
- Need more time to complete speech or could not finish it 
- Loss of control over speech 
- Swallow words often 
- Words/speech come in parts
- Repeating the same words or using unnecessary words often 
- While worrying more about it, it causes more and more problems
- Repetition of initial consonants especially with vowels - A, E, I, O, U 
- Felt as if vocal cord gets tightened with prolongation of sounds especially with sounds 
  of A, P, S, T, V, X 
- Usually try to avoid eye contact (to whom they speak) to avoid stammer 

 



Complications Stammering, if left untreated in the initial stages, often causes inevitable complications at the emotional level. It can reflect in the personality, behaviour, self-esteem and social interactions. Stammerers often feel ashamed, worthless and guilty to appear in public which can affect their career. 

 


Management
For parents or bystanders – Parents should be aware that with effort and training betterment can surely be attained. They can make their child fluent by influencing them with encouragement to jump over the hurdle easily. Further,
- Don’t make them tense with repeated caution or reminders since these may cause reverse effect 
- Speak slowly and clearly to them 
- Don’t make them hurry in any means at any time 

 

For sufferers
- Never hide the problem
- Never get upset while stammering 
- Be bold and confident - don’t lose hope at any time 
- Concentrate on the content of the speech than the way it is spoken 
- Don’t get tensed, always be relaxed, speak / answer everything clearly in a slow manner 
- Do good practise to overcome the stumbling block 
- Develop speaking skill by exposing yourself repeatedly to challenging environments 
- Build good knowledge of the language with learning and reading 
- Build personality and better communication by following a proper way of speaking 



General treatment
– There is no known specific treatment in Allopathy for stammering. They totally depend on speech therapy and behaviour therapy for management. They advise parents to provide good attention and support to the sufferer to build confidence to root out fear, nervousness and anxiety. 


Homeopathic approach Even though modern system of medicines claims that stammering cannot be cured altogether with medicines and can only be managed with behavioural and speech therapy, Homeopathy can provide very good relief for stammerers. Homeopathic medicines can support, set right and correlate one’s mind, nerves and vocal apparatus to reduce pause or stammer in course of time.

Stammering, as a complaint, needs to be treated at the earliest to cope with the situation. One should be aware that early treatment is the best treatment since it usually preserves the confidence level, self esteem and social interactions. Improvement of fluency in speech may vary according to efforts taken, i.e., early treatment / attention / care, vocal practices / exercises, alteration in environment, proper coaching, regularity in following medicines, etc. Anyhow, early treatment and practice can make one near normal.